The aim of this study is to examine consumer house-buying behavior from the consumers’ perspective. In view of the existing literature exploring consumer decision making, the purpose of this research was threefold: (a) to propose a conceptual model of consumer decision making within the frame of consumer behavior; (b) to gain knowledge of factors impacting this process from the empirical standpoint with the focus on prefabricated house purchases; and (c) to oﬀer implications for beneﬁcial purchases of prefabricated houses. The results of our in-depth interviews with recent owners and potential buyers of a custom-made prefabricated house suggest that cognitive and rational factors do not oﬀer suﬃcient explanation of consumer behavior in the case of a high-involvement product such as a house. In addition to the idiosyncratic characteristics of the customer, his/her personal situation and environmental factors, the role of feelings, experience, subconscious factors, needs and goals should to be taken into account to better understand this kind of decision making. Key Words: consumer decision-making, strategic purchase, prefabricated house, qualitative research jel Classiﬁcation: m30, m31
Introduction The ﬁeld of consumer research is mostly focused on two major questions: how consumers go about making decisions (descriptive theories), and how decisions should be made (normative theories) (Edwards and Fasolo 2001). Research directives, aimed at researching how consumers should decide, have been emerging lately. Several critiques have appeared against the existing literature which focuses almost exclusively on the marketing perspective and neglects consumers and their diﬃculties in decision making (Bazerman 2001; Gronhaug, Kleppe, and Haukedal Mateja Kos Kokliˇ is an Assistant at the Faculty of Economics, c University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Irena Vida is a Professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Managing Global Transitions 7 (1): 75–96
Mateja Kos Kokliˇ and Irena Vida c
1987). Brief and Bazerman (2003, 187) developed the idea that ‘creating true value for the consumer and, thus, adding value to society is one of the most obvious ways business organizations make the world a better place’. This notion of a consumer-focused approach is also supported by Bargh (2002), who believes consumer research should balance studies of how to inﬂuence consumers with studies of how consumers could defend themselves against and control such inﬂuences. One of the most inﬂuential areas within consumer behavior is consumer decision – making (Bargh 2002; Simonson et al. 2001; Bettman, Luce, and Payne 1998). At the conceptual level, various consumer decision-making models have been proposed in the literature in recent decades. However, many researchers believe that a speciﬁc, situationand product-oriented model is needed in studying purchasing (Erasmusm, Boshoﬀ, and Rousseau 2001). Apart from this, investigating decisions, that can change lives of consumers, such as car or house purchase, can make an essential contribution to consumer behavior knowledge (Wells 1993). According to Erasmus, Boshoﬀ, and Rousseau (2001), an exploratory approach with the intention to unfold the truth may provide opportunities for an understanding of the complexity of speciﬁc decision-making circumstances, such as ﬁrst-time house buying. In view of the existing literature exploring consumer decision making when purchasing high-involvement and emotionally charged products, the purpose of this research was threefold: (a) to develop a conceptual model of decision – making for a prefabricated house purchase; (b) to gain knowledge of factors impacting this process from the empirical standpoint; and (c) to oﬀer implications for beneﬁcial strategic household purchases. Strategic decision making refers to the process of decision making...